Tag Archives: Office

18% Friendly? Why don’t we smile at each other?

I work in a string of seven buildings connected by halls. Each building has four floors and two wings. There are a lot of people here with at least three companies in occupancy.

It is common for people to walk the halls for exercise. This is especially true during the summer, when my company sponsors a walking/exercise program where you can earn an Amazon gift certificate worth $50 to $100.  My company has the bulk of office space here, so there are usually plenty of people walking at any given time.

I’ve noticed that not many people smile, or even make eye contact. Today I decided to see what percentage of people would display a minimal acknowledgement – such as a nod or smile.  This experiment took place right before the cafeteria opened and I saw 40+ people.  There were two small groups of people who were talking as they walked.  All of the others were individuals.

18%! Three people smiled AND gave a verbal greeting.  Out of those, I know one so I almost didn’t want to count her.  Another individual nodded, but did not smile or give a verbal greeting.

Out of all the others, a substantial majority did not even make eye contact.

Psychologically Damaging Office Setup

I just need to get this off my chest.  I work in an office where we only have 1/2 height walls with no wall towards the aisle. Most people sit with the backs of their monitors facing the aisle – so they’re looking out into the aisle.

Why is this psychologically damaging? It is a pose that looks inviting to the casual observer.  It is deceiving and has tricked me on more than one occasion.

You have to look for the casual signs that someone is not available for a quick conversation.  People have headsets when on the phone, but sometimes you can’t tell if they have a headset on.  Some people hang a sign on their monitor to let people know they’re on the phone.  Some of those people just leave their sign on ALL the time – which makes it blend into the environment or less reliable.  One person even has a sign up 100% of the time that says “DO NOT DISTURB.”  Yes, it is in all caps.